For Release: October 16, 2005
John Gibbons(202) 633-3083 or (202) 391-4231
National Zoo Euthanizes Giraffe
The National Zoo’s two-year-old giraffe, “Jafari,” was euthanized this afternoon, after several weeks of being treated for complications associated with skin cancer. This morning Jafari’s condition worsened, and due to the poor prognosis, Zoo veterinarians and animal-care staff decided to euthanize.
National Zoo veterinarians and animal-care staff operated on the male giraffe on Oct. 5 in an effort to remove a large, cancerous tumor from the top of its head. Because the tumor, which was about the size of a grapefruit, had invaded bone, Zoo veterinarians were not able to remove all of it.
While skin cancer is common in humans, it’s not known to have been diagnosed in a giraffe.
Zoo veterinary and animal-care staff first noticed the lump in late August during a training session with the giraffe. There were no noticeable signs of discomfort at that time. Veterinarians drew fluid from the lump on two separate occasions, the second of which indicated the presence of cancer cells.
Jafari was born at the Bronx Zoo, and came to the National Zoo in April 2004. The National Zoo now has one giraffe—a three-year-old male.
In the wild, giraffes are found south of the Sahara in Africa, inhabiting savanna, scrub and open woodlands.
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